IBM will partner with Louisiana State University to establish a technology service center in downtown Baton Rouge that will provide software development and maintenance services, with estimates of creating 800 jobs.
A central element of the public-private partnership involved in securing the IBM center is the construction of a mixed-use, riverfront complex that will be developed by Commercial Properties Realty Trust. Inspired by New Urbanism design principles, the complex will include an office building that will house the new IBM Services Center, as well as a separate, 11-story residential building with 95 river-view apartments and nine separate town homes.
The IBM Services Center will provide clients in the United States with services that address the increasing demand for flexible software services to keep up with Big Data, cloud and mobile requirements that they are facing. IBM Services Center: Baton Rouge will deliver technology services including application development, application management and system integration.
In addition to the 800 jobs that will be created at the center over the next four years, LSU estimates the project will result in approximately 542 new indirect jobs, for a total of approximately 1,342 new, permanent jobs in the Capital Region.
“This center exemplifies IBM’s longtime commitment to partner with local communities and academic institutions to develop the capabilities our clients need," said Colleen Arnold, Senior Vice President, Application Management Services, IBM. “Our global capability model is designed to address the broadest spectrum of client requirements, build and deliver advanced skills, while inspiring and sustaining the next-generation workforce that drives innovation.”
The State will provide $14 million in funding over 10 years for expanded higher-education programs designed primarily to increase the number of annual computer science graduates. At least 65 percent of these funds will be provided for expansion of the Computer Science Division of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at LSU.
The riverfront complex is being built on the old Advocate newspaper site bordered by Main, North, Lafayette Street and River Road. Total investment for the combined development is estimated to be $55 million. The approximately $30.5 million office building will be funded by $14.8 million from the State of Louisiana. The City of Baton Rouge/Parish of East Baton Rouge will provide $3 million, as well as $12.7 million in Community Development Block Grant funds. The BRAF-affiliated Wilbur Marvin Foundation WMF will own the office building. CPRT will secure private financing for the residential building, which will also be an asset of the WMF. During construction of the new riverfront complex, IBM will be temporarily lease space at the Essen Centre office complex in Baton Rouge.
LED has offered IBM a customized, performance-based incentive package that also includes grants totaling $29.5 million over 12 years, including a $1.5 million contribution from the City of Baton Rouge/Parish of East Baton Rouge, to reimburse costs related to personnel recruitment, relocation, and other workforce-related costs; internal training; and facility operating expenses. The company also will utilize LED FastStart for recruitment support, as well as Louisiana’s Quality Jobs program.